AXA appoints former Pru boss as director

French insurance giant AXA has appointed David Whitaker as marketing director for AXA Sun Life, its UK life and pensions company.

Whitaker replaces Frank Wilson, who resigned in November last year (MW November 6, 2003) following a marketing shake-up, which saw various high-profile marketing posts axed, including group sales and marketing director John Bines.

AXA persuaded Wilson, former marketing director of Prudential, to remain on a freelance basis until last month because of the difficulties in appointing a replacement.

Whitaker previously worked at rivals Clerical Medical, owned by Halifax Bank of Scotland. He was head of product development and left Clerical Medical a year ago.

AXA consolidated its &£23m advertising into J Walter Thompson last year, moving it from TBWA/London, which had just won Abbey’s business (MW June 5). The review was overseen by AXA head of brand Darrin Nightingale.

The company is understood to be working on a new marketing strategy and is in the process of slowly rebranding AXA Insurance, AXA Sun Life and AXA PPP Healthcare under the single AXA umbrella brand.

AXA’s UK life and savings business performed poorly last year, showing a decrease in annual earnings of 11 per cent to &£471m compared with the year before.

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